"A seamless collage of obsessive virtuosity running no less than 75 minutes without a pause" is how the Innova press release describes Rave (rather well), before comparing Andrew Violette (b.1953 in NYC) to Buxtehude, Scarlatti (which one, I wonder?), Chopin, Liszt, Skryabin, Cecil Taylor and Fred Rzewski (you might add Charles Valentin Alkan too, since he's also apparently penned seven of the longest piano sonatas in history).
It's unashamedly diatonic, full of crashing octaves and daring trills but it's hard to figure out where it's heading to, if anywhere at all.
Violette thickens the plot by covering his late Romantic Hamburg Steinway CD147 with several layers of humid electronic moss, courtesy a Yamaha S90ES – played, as is the piano, by the composer himself – and electric and acoustic violin.
Track titles like "Intro, Messiaen and the Sitar", "The Lost Puccini Aria", and "Dueling Chopin Etudes" give you some idea of what to expect. The end result is like your favourite albums by Rachmaninov, Liszt, John Adams (thinking Grand Pianola Music), Conlon Nancarrow, Liberace, early Vangelis and maybe even Astor Piazzolla, all played at the same time.
That title is perhaps significant: raves are secret pilgrimages to obscure locations best appreciated when you are, in the words of the bard, "sorted for E's and wizz".
Or just 20,000 people standing in a field.
And I don't quite understand just what this feeling is.
But that's okay 'cause we're all sorted out for E's and wizz.
And tell me when the spaceship lands
'cause all this has just got to mean something.
In the middle of the night, it feels alright, but then tomorrow morning.
Oh then you come down.